By Meghan Brink | Sept. 2, 2021
The university will increase its presence downtown and monitor social media posts after back to back weekends of off-campus parties attracted more than 2,000 people to the streets of Pine Hills, causing an uptick in violence, local disturbance, and littering in the area.
All on-campus students were required to attend a meeting organized by the Dean of Students Office with Residential Life this week to review information about off-campus safety and code of conduct expectations.
Students attending the meeting were informed of an incident that occured last weekend, where APD received two separate reports of gunshots being fired near the large gatherings in the area. According to the report, a student’s car window was shattered by a stray bullet.
The parties have attracted not only college students, but also adults from the surrounding area. The university has confirmed, as stated in the meetings conducted by Residential Life, that “the most recent events have been a mix of students and middle-aged adults from the surrounding area.”
University Spokesperson Jordan Carleo-Evangelist said that the DOS is working alongside APD to combat the parties.
The university works closely with local police and residential entities on the condition of Pine Hills. Information on students who have been ticketed, arrested, or victims of crimes are regularly reported by APD to the university so they are able to follow-up with proper code of conduct violation sanctions or support services and accommodations. Additionally, both members of the DOS and APD regularly attend meetings of the Pine Hills Neighborhood Association and a monthly Committee on University-Community Relations meeting, where members of code enforcement, fire safety officials, landlords, and sometimes students attend to discuss local concerns.
To prepare for the coming weekend, the number of university personnel in the downtown area will be increased.
“The University will have an increased presence in the neighborhood this weekend, and we’re doing targeted communication both to residential and non-residential students,” said Carleo-Evangelist. “Students should also expect that if they are caught up in disrupting the neighborhood in midtown, they will be hearing from Community Standards.”
So far, four students have been suspended as a result of off-campus code-of-conduct violations, and one student has been thrown out of on-campus housing.
DOS personnel will also be following up with both student and non-student residents who have hosted large gatherings to notify them that proper sanctions will be initiated for all code of conduct violations.
The DOS will also be performing what Carleo-Evangelist referred to as ‘code walk’ alongside APD and code enforcement to spot potential unsafe living conditions in buildings in the Pine Hills area.
“Students may not necessarily be aware of city building codes and may not know that a condition in the apartment they are renting is unsafe,” said Carleo-Evangelist.
An unnamed UPD officer recently told a member of the ASP that he “has not seen crowds like that downtown in years.”
The university has declined to comment on what social media accounts will be monitored for activity downtown in the coming weekend. However, Carleo-Evangelist said, "students should assume the posts get noticed and that the University will follow up if the conduct depicted in them warrants."